Using video to maximize engagement in search-based shopper journeys

30 second summary:

  • Videos engage and convert and rank incredibly well in organic search too, making them the perfect medium to convert searchers into buyers.
  • Videos can help guide customers to your brand at the stage of the buyer’s journey
  • Here’s how to create video content that specifically meets each stage

The customer acquisition process begins with your first contact. There are several stages a consumer goes through before becoming a customer and then a loyal customer. A purchase journey begins with the identification or expression of a need. This need must therefore be met in one way or another.

With over eight billion searches a year, real shoppers’ journeys are complicated and can take weeks or months. However, to keep things simple, here’s a snapshot of the key steps a person goes through to become your customer. Since nearly 68% of online experiences start with a search engine, all of these stages can very well occur in Google itself:

  • Awareness: When a consumer discovers that you have a solution to a problem, they want to be solved. In many (but not all) cases, this research journey begins with a “how to” query.
  • Consideration– when a consumer adds you to the list of potential solution providers
  • Decision: when a consumer believes you have the best solution and becomes a paying customer.

Businesses need to help consumers make the right decision by providing information, assistance, and building trust in your brand throughout the process.

With video content appearing in all search results, it makes sense to use video for all three stages of the consumer journey. The best thing video is that they rank incredibly wellespecially if you host them on YouTube and practice video optimization.

The two distinct sections where the video can assist your potential customers at every stage of the purchase journey are:

  • Fragments in the foreground: When Google includes a video in a featured snippet, it’s a strong sign that people are looking for a video tutorial to solve their problem. If this is your target search query, creating a video is a must, especially when optimizing for the “awareness” stage in the funnel.
  • Video carousels: Google includes video carousels when a video intent is implied. It’s not at all difficult to rank your video there, especially when it comes to specific (low search volume) queries, like brand-based queries.

Here’s an example of both of these sections ranking at the top of the search results page, pushing organic results far below the above-the-fold portion of the screen. Notice a very well-branded video from Lowes being submitted for a very relevant, albeit long-tailed, query. I bet this generates a lot of leads for them. There is also another brand, The Home Depot, which ranks its video in the carousel below. It appears that both of these brands are doing their homework well:

The Home Depot - Using video to maximize engagement in search-based shopper journeys

There are many different types of video content that can be used at each specific stage. These videos help encourage the consumer to continue their journey with you rather than your competitor.


As the name suggests, this video optimization strategy ensures that your target customers become aware of your brand.

The types of video marketing content that work best at this stage of the funnel include:

Make sure your videos are well-branded to increase recognizability – use your logo and color palette on your video thumbnail, as it will show up in search results.

Once awareness has been created, it is time to consolidate all that effort and move the consumer to the next stage of consideration.


You can improve the customer experience at this stage through videos that position your product the way you want it to be positioned. A good reason to use videos at this stage is that they put your product in a real-life context – that is, they show exactly how other people are using your product.

The most effective videos for this phase are:

  • Explanatory videos to introduce the product to your consumer and describe in detail what you offer. The explanatory videos present the problem, discuss how your company can prove the solution and highlight the product features and its benefits for the consumer. Think of these videos as lead magnets: You want them to deliver value, not just talk about your product.
  • Product demonstration videos to explain in detail how a product or service works. They highlight all the benefits of using the product in an easy-to-understand format. They often use step-by-step instructions to show how to use the product and may include some innovative ideas on where to use it. A good script and excellent presentation make this an amazing product demonstration video of all time. It is a good idea to create a video gallery on site on your site to share these demos with your site visitors. Videos slow down your pages, so pay attention to the page loading time when using embedded content.
  • Storytelling videos to show a lighter side of your business, humanize it to put it in contact with the consumer. These videos tell a story about your business, its hopes, aspirations and values. Usually, employees and managers of the company talk about the company, their experiences with it and their work. They are designed to create an emotional response that strengthens consumers’ relationship with your business.

Since all of these videos should be ranked in Google, make sure you match them with actual search queries that have higher business intent.


The third stage of the consumer’s journey is to convince the interested consumer that your product or service offers the best solution to their problem.

This is the stage where the consumer is already busy buying and needs a little nudge in the right direction. This is the time when you need to put an emphasis on building trust so that the consumer trusts your brand and buys your product. The most effective videos at this stage are the testimonials and reviews of colleagues.

  • Video testimonialsThese are the best types of videos for building trust and trust in your prospects, and a must for the final stage of customer acquisition which is converting leads.
  • Customer-oriented storytelling videos showing how your customers use the product in a more creative context.

Your target search queries for these types of videos include:

  • Your product and your brand: If you have an established brand (or if you are working on it), your brand name is searched on Google and these videos will guarantee you another asset you check in the brand-based SERPs. If you are doing a good job tracking your brand in organic searchyou already know your important brand-based search queries.
  • Competitor-driven search queries– These are search queries that explore competitor alternatives and compare two competitors.

These videos should also be reused in two important ways:

  • Incorporate them into your key landing pages: Video content is a known way to increase conversions, but in this case it’s a good way to help your customers feel at home as they’ll see the same video on the page after clicking the link on YouTube. It is also a good idea to curate these videos on your own page dedicated to customer reviews.
  • Use these videos for your remarketing campaigns. You can use retargeting on Youtube to serve them to people who have already passed stage n. 2 of the purchase path but have not yet converted.


Using video in your organic search strategy to engage customers at every major stage of their buying journey is one of the best examples of how SEO and sales can help each other. Include videos in your SEO and CRO strategies and you will likely see much better results on both counts.

Ann Smarty is the founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager of Internet Marketing Ninjas. It can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.

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